Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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lac

A resinous substance of insect origin, collected from twigs of several trees of the Acacia family. The substance is secreted as a form of protective scale on the bodies of the insects Coccus lacca, which attach themselves to the twigs. The crude resin (stick lac) consists of twigs encrusted with the excretion of the insects' remains, and is processed in several steps to produce SHELLAC .

The blood-red dye obtained from lac was at one time the most valuable product of the refining process. It has been used a a dyestuff since very early times and was the dye used in Indian lake pigment.

The word "lac" and the term LAKE are derived from the Sanskrit laksa, meaning "a hundred thousand." One of the host trees referred to in Sanskrit writings is "Lakshatarn," the tree which nourishes a hundred thousand insects. (195 , 233 )




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